Texas Tandem Gives UNLV More Than Just Lone Star|
Dec. 29, 2013
By Drew Harris For the Heart of Dallas Bowl
Tim Cornett and Devante Davis have known each other since birth. Their mothers are friends, their older brothers are friends and they are friends. So when Cornett graduated from Houston's North Shore High School and headed west to UNLV, it didn't take long for Davis to follow.
The two Lone Star State products have grown up together to become dynamic offensive players for the Rebels (7-5), who are playing in a bowl game for just the fourth time in school history.
Cornett, a senior, ranks as the all-time leading rusher at the school, which also boasts former NFL star Ickey Woods, famous for the "Ickey Shuffle," among its alums. Cornett also rates as the Mountain West Conference's No. 2 rusher with 3,700 career yards.
The speedy 6-foot, 200-pound back has topped the 1,200-yard mark each of the past two years and is the first ball carrier in school history ever to lead the team in rushing all four collegiate seasons.
Davis, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 210 pounds, is a junior who smashed the single-season school record for receiving touchdowns this year and ranks third in receiving yards and fourth in catches with one more game to play.
Both players were rewarded for their play with second-team all-conference accolades this season for a Rebels squad that averaged better than 30 points per game. "They are two of our key players," quarterback Caleb Herring. "They both bring unique talents to the table and are big parts of our offense."
Cornett, who mentored Davis when he arrived by showing him the ropes of college football, views it as a friendly competition between the two.
"If he scores a touchdown, I want to score one," Cornett said. "When he makes a play, I want to make a play."
And their remarkably similar numbers seem to affirm that point. In the 2013 regular season, Cornett scored 15 rushing touchdowns while gaining 1,251 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Davis caught 14 touchdowns and had 1,194 yards receiving.
"We take pride in the fact that both of us are accomplishing things," Davis said. "It's always great for guys to come out of Houston and play well. We're all still close."
Both players are eager to get a chance to return to their home state and play in the Heart of Dallas Bowl presented by PlainsCapital Bank. Cornett and Davis each expect two to three dozen relatives and friends to be in attendance when the Rebels play the North Texas Mean Green on New Year's Day.
The week spent in Dallas, which culminates with a national television appearance, also opens up even more recruiting opportunities for UNLV in the high school football hotbed. The Rebels already have 10 Texans on their roster.
"Visibility here is good for us. Kids like to go where they know some people," head coach Bobby Hauck said. "So when they know some guys on our team, it makes it easier." And when those players just happen to be stars, it's all the better.